|An Alaska Airlines 737-800 in a special Oneworld livery.|
Photo: Alaska Airlines
Oneworld extended an invitation to Alaska, based on a nomination from American Airlines, to start the process of joining the airline alliance.
"Today is a great day for the employees and customers of Alaska Air Group," said Alaska CEO Brad Tilden. "With our membership into Oneworld, we can enhance our great service and offerings, expand our ability to compete in the Northwest, and seamlessly connect our passengers to the rest of the world."
"On behalf of American and the rest of the Oneworld Alliance, I welcome Alaska Airlines with open arms." declared American CEO Doug Parker. "Alaska's network out of Pacific Northwest and State of Alaska will strengthen Oneworld's presence in North America."
Representatives from all the member airlines were on hand for the press conference, which included a special flyover of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 painted in a combination of a special Oneworld livery and Alaska's updated livery scheme.
Alaska already has partnership agreements in place with current Oneworld members American, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, LAN, and Qantas.
However, because of the entry into Oneworld, Alaska will have to end its partnerships with airlines from the competing Skyteam alliance, including Delta Air Lines, AeroMexico, Air France, KLM, and Korean Air.
The target date for completing the process of joining is May 30, 2016. Before then, Alaska will have to coordinate with new alliance partners on integrating reservation and frequent flyer systems, among others.
Regional subsidiary Horizon Air will also be joining Oneworld as an affiliate member.
Alaska Air Group serves 104 destinations with 880 daily departures in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Forty-three of these destinations are not yet served by any Oneworld airline.
Together with Alaska, Oneworld will have 16 member airlines and serve 1,053 destinations in 155 countries with 15,176 daily departures.